You can’t beat a classic.
“Tecmo Super Bowl” is coming up on its 25th year of existence, and for some, it’s still the best football video game ever made. The Nintendo Entertainment System gem was the first sports game to use real National Football League player names and teams, and its pick-up-and-play accessibility has given it an enduring legacy.
So enduring, in fact, that some people to this day regularly go into the game’s files and update each team’s rosters to reflect their current lineups. One such modder, Dave Brude, recently looked through the game’s files and found an unused animation for a false start penalty, as reported by Polygon. This is an especially interesting find, because the game millions grew to love didn’t have any penalties at all.
Brude is something of an authority on the ins and outs of “Tecmo Super Bowl,” having added a two-point conversion to the game back in 2014 (the NFL didn’t adopt that rule until 1994). TecmoBowlers has a full rundown of the crazy programming magic that went into finding the unused false start animation; be warned that it’s like reading a different language if you don’t know much about programming.
Brude figures the false start penalty would have been triggered randomly, so it was wise for the developers to scrap the idea entirely. Anyone who watches football will agree that nothing sucks the fun out of an important play more than a false start stopping the play before it even happens.
We don’t need that in our football video games.
Still, it’s amazing that people are finding hidden and unused features in games almost three decades later. Amibitious folks are able to dig their way into the code that makes all of your favourite old games work and figure out what was missing. It’s part of what makes video games unique, and we can’t wait to see what people continue to discover about the classics.